Psychology of Pleasure

I’m watching an episode of the CBS Sunday Morning show from a few months ago, and as always, they’re talking about some interesting stuff regarding the human condition.  This guy is on there talking about his research into the psychology of pleasure. The basic premise is that people do things to receive pleasure. It also goes into the fact that sometimes people do weird things to satisfy a need to feel good.

We like things that please us as opposed to things that don’t.

This is obvious, you might say, but let’s take a look at some of their examples: They did a study on 2 groups of wine drinkers. They gave cheap wine to the first group but said it was rare and expensive, while the second group were told their good wine was cheap. Of course, they enjoyed their supposed good wine and disliked the cheap stuff.  That is pretty damn funny, but it’s also a really central part of us.

Another researcher said eating hot chilis is the same thing–people get a rush from the pain. I’d say this is true for a lot of people who crave hot foods. There’s also the group who loves to show off their capacity for eating the hottest salsa, which is sort of another type of gratification, isn’t it?

They also discussed George Clooney’s sweater and why it’s more valuable to many people than any old sweater.

I think this is something to think about for a while. I’m willing to bet that most of us place extra value on something once owned by a celebrity. Why do you like certain things? Do you obsess about them? We all have something. It seems like a good idea to spend some time considering this attachment to stuff and see if you have unhealthy ones. I know I do!

Thanks to Smokedsalmon for the human brain diagram used above!

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